Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. McDowell

Marc McDowell

Executive Chef, Makena Beach & Golf Resort

Since his appointment as Makena Beach & Golf Resort's Executive Chef in October 2010, Chef Marc McDowell has revolutionized the resort's culinary program, with creative menu development, providing expert direction and training to the resort's culinary team, and overseeing food production in the resort's four restaurants and catering department.

Trained at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York, Chef McDowell has a background in French cooking, specializing in a fusion of exotic herbs and spices with fresh Hawaiian ingredients to create new flavor profiles for the palette. His professional experience includes senior culinary positions at the Grand Wailea Resort, Maui and most recently as the Executive Sous Chef at the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua, Maui.

Chef McDowell's passions for foods that are fresh and wholesome have inspired at Makena a new focus on seasonal offerings that are served in their peak window of freshness. In addition, since his arrival, the kitchens at Makena have baked their own breads and make their own sauces, stocks, soups and salad dressings due to his classic “made-from-scratch” approach to food preparation. “I want the Makena food experience to be beautiful and delicious,” says McDowell, “Not only do I want our guest to experience favorable and quality food but I want to develop my culinary staff's sensibilities to fresh ingredients, fresh flavors, and a fresh outlook on cooking. My mantra is “Fresh! Fresh! Fresh!”

Chef McDowell is also a Certified Master Gardener having developed a resort herb garden featuring a wide selection of 90 exotic herbs, 100 plus vegetables, and over 8 varieties of butterfly flowers. His plans for Makena also include the addition of an aquaponics garden, a combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil). This new sustainable method of farming is being recognized worldwide as an exceedingly viable method of food production.

To top it all off, Chef McDowell also has a passion for garde manger skills and techniques. He delights guests to intricate carved fruit presentations and spectacular ice carvings that can be found at the resort's famed Sunday Brunch. Chef McDowell remains active in the community working with high school students to set up gardens. He hopes to one day have a Farmer's Market right in the resort's parking lot for which these students can sell their locally-grown produce.

Big dreams and ambitious goals keep Chef McDowell constantly engaged with his staff, local farmers and suppliers, restaurant guests and other members of the community. He says, “The opportunity to lead the culinary team has unleashed my creativity and opened new doors to my love for sustainable farm-to-table eating, a love that I hope to inspire in those around me.” And with his infectious can-do attitude, it is hard not to be inspired.

Mr. McDowell can be contacted at 808-875-5850 or mmcdowell@makenaresortmaui.com

Coming up in February 2020...

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

The reach and influence of social media is staggering. Nearly 3 billion people use social media daily, posting a range of messages, selfies, images, and everything in-between. According to HubSpot, almost 4 million posts are uploaded to the major social networks every single minute! That's an astounding amount of content and it is crucial for hotels to skillfully use social media in order to effectively compete. From establishing a suitable brand identity and voice to creating content across all the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), the goal is to actively engage consumers and to eventually convert them to customers. Some hotels are initiating online contests as a way to attract new customers, while others are rewarding customers with discounts who subscribe to the their email lists or follow their social media pages. Another recent strategy is to employ social media listening tools that track what people are posting online about their businesses. These tools allow hotels to monitor - or listen to - what's being said about a brand across the entire social web, and this can prove to be very valuable, unfiltered information. Social listening permits hotels to be aware of people's opinions about their business, industry or competitors, and some of these tools even listen beyond social media platforms. They also monitor publicly available information on blogs, forums, news outlets and websites. Some listening tools are more focused on gathering and analyzing data, while others offer more engagement-oriented features, which allow hotels to interact with people right from the platform. Often the information that is gleaned from these listening tools ends up being the most authentic, unbiased insights a business can get. The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to successfully integrate social media strategies into their operations.